Student Spotlight: Marie Mendoza

Texas resident Marie Mendoza (G’15) earned her BSN in 1999 and is currently enrolled part time in the Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist program. In our latest Student Spotlight, she talks about the “interactive classroom ‘blend’” and the importance of having a support system. 

Why did you decide to pursue a master’s degree?

I enjoy learning, and had always wanted to return to school. Finally, I reached a point in my profession wherein I began to hunger for the knowledge which I did not know, and simply had the desire to do more and be more.

Why did you want to pursue this particular specialty?

As a nurse in the ICU, I followed this specialty to acquire a more profound and comprehensive understanding of my environment. Also, as a nurse with some teaching experience, I hope to utilize the CNS portion of this specialty in inspiring others as a future mentor or instructor.

I chose to attend Georgetown University not only because of its sound standing as an institution, but also because of this AG-ACNP/CNS program. There are few programs like it in the country, and I appreciate its close affiliation with the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN).

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting in this career path?

What is necessary in graduate school is the discipline of hard work, organization, patience, and resilience that many nurses already possess, but applied to the scholastic environment.

What has your experience been with the Learning Management System (2GU)?

As a blended online system, I particularly enjoy the interactive component of 2GU. Attending live class sessions and study sessions remains a valuable entity for me. As a person who learns best visually, I appreciate the ability to rewind and replay lectures or class sessions in order to enhance my understanding.

In comparison to other online programs, this interactive classroom “blend” remains advantageous for Georgetown University students. It is attending school, but without the hassles of traffic, parking, or book bags! Yay, 2GU!

What is one skill you believe every nurse should possess, no matter what stage in his or her career?

Every nurse should possess the skill of critical thinking in his/her discipline. When confronted with a clinical situation, a nurse should consider the question “why?” in his/her thoughts, utilizing the knowledge and experience foundation, then proceed from there. This aids in all spectrums of care – from trying to understand where your family member grieves psychologically, to understanding your patient’s pathology.

Do you currently work part or full time?

I currently work part time.

In what states have you practiced?

I have practiced exclusively in the state of Texas.

In what departments have you worked?

As a full-time staff nurse, I have worked in the Critical Care/Medical Intensive Care Unit (CCU/MICU) for 12 years, and the Post Coronary Intervention Unit (PCIU) for one year.

How old are you?

I am 35 years young.

How long have you been in nursing?

I have been in nursing for 13 years.

What are some ways you’ve been working to create a healthy work-school-life balance?

As with others, I have many methods of creating a healthy work-school-life balance. I make time to spend with my loved ones, no matter how busy I am. When I am with them, they have my complete attention.

Also, I have learned be on an organized schedule. If something comes up, but it does not fit in the schedule, I contemplate its necessity or graciously say no. Lastly, I have made friends in the program who have sacrificed as I have, and whom I can reach out to about school.

Do you have an example you can share of a time when you were able to apply something you’d learned in class to your current job?

Something learned comes to work with me every shift. My perspectives are now different, from reviewing blood work to communicating with the patient, my thoughts flow through various pathological concepts and potential outcomes. I find myself engaging in deeper conversations with other health care professionals than previously, asking more precise and accurate questions regarding care. I feel I have an improved understanding of my environment in addition to an increased vigilance for developing consequences.

Anything else you’d like to share?

“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.” ― Thomas Edison